tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 13, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EST
saturday night live and portlandia. thank you for being here. the name for his pain. bain. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight, the bain event. newt gingrich released his first attack ad in south carolina going after mitt romney's time at bain capital. democrats are thrilled to see and hear republicans like newt and rick perry hit mitt where they believe republicans are vulnerable. economic unfairness. think ahead to the election
matchup between obama and romney. when the president called out financial speculators during a jobs speech yesterday, he laid it out. with romney as his likely opponent, he will run against wall street greed with romney trying to run against washington? and bain is not romney's only problem. he's got a spontaneity problem, don't you think? when things got confrontational, or goes off script, mitt goes off kilter. remember this? >> do you still support the idea of a mandate? do you believe that was the right thing for massachusetts? do you think mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool? >> i don't know how many hundred times i have said this. this is an unusual interview. let's do it again. >> cross your legs. a nervous chuckle there. we're going to look at mitt's problem with spontaneity when he goes off the script and the confrontation he's can't seem to handle. opponents are noticing this. who is behind the assassination of a nuclear scientist in iran? hillary clinton says it wasn't
us. but the israelis aren't saying one way or another. let's examine the covert war against iran. and let me finish with this attack on mitt romney from behind. we begin with the newt gingrich attacks on his business background. we have two political strategists here. democrat steve mcmahon and republican john feehery. let's take a look now. newt gingrich isn't backing down from his criticism of mitt romney on the business front. let's listen to him this morning on "fox and friends." >> you can't run saying i have two great credentials. my governorship, which you're not allowed to talk about, and the work at bain capital, which you aren't allowed to talk about because that's an attack -- if you talk about my record, that's an attack on free enterprise. that's baloney. >> that guy looks 20 years younger. he's been rejuvenated. he's mainlining on this. newt gingrich at his best on attack. that's always been his strength. here he is saying, who is this guy. we don't dare talk about his
record as governor of massachusetts because he's a moderate up there, a liberal as he puts it. we can't talk about bain. what are you allowed to talk about? or aren't you allowed to run against? >> that's the new thing. everybody in the republican party is beginning to close ranks around mitt romney because he's the likely, almost certain, republican nominee. but newt gingrich understands something that the obama people understand. bain is a cancer on mitt romney's candidacy. and you can put it in remission maybe for a little while, but it's going to keep popping up, because it's that harmful to his political health. and bain gets to the point that people really will make their decision around, which is this a guy who can understand the problems i have? does he care about people like me? the bain thing. all the things -- the inability to connect. putting the dog on the top of his car and driving off on vacation. people look at those things. who is this guy? >> he's the guy that wants to decide tax policy in a quiet
room. >> in a quiet room. >> let's go find a room. >> john feehery, aren't you embarrassed by this elite language? let's go find a quiet room. we should be talking tax policy with the people listening. >> that's how dan got tax policy. he got them into. they're both going at him right now saying bain capital cost people jobs. rick perry says he's a vulture capitalist, waiting for a business to get weak so he can eat it. this is tough stuff. i would expect it from dennis kucinich. but this is coming from behind his lines. >> as you know, for mitt romney, this is an important time. he's got to get the messaging right. he has to figure out how to talk like a politician and not a ceo. >> is he a natural? >> of course, he's not. but people don't love natural politicians, but if you're --
>> they love real people. >> they want real people. >> if bill clinton were running this time, he would beat everybody on both sides. >> here's pro-gingrich super pac. these are all ads written by the candidates, but they say they are not. this is basically an an ad put together by gingrich. winning our future. it's up on south carolina going after romney's record at bain. taken from the movie that went after him. let's watch this negative ad out today in south carolina. >> a group of corporate raiders led by mitt romney. the company was bain capital. more ruthless than wall street. >> pulled the rug out from under our plant. >> everybody was fired. >> they fire people. they cut benefits. they sell assets. >> mitt romney and them guys, they don't care who i am. >> i feel that is a man that destroyed us. >> winning our future is responsible for the content of this message. >> now you're in the ad business.
you know how to make an ad. just explain something. you can take an ad like that that's on now in january and you can basically take the best parts and run it again in october can't you? >> yes. >> there's no reason why you can't do that? >> absolutely not. >> is there any political reason you wouldn't do that? >> no. in fact, those ads ran the first time in 1994 in the ted kennedy race when -- >> you were in that one? you were still in school? >> yeah iwas just a child. they ought to be sending bob shrum a check. it's a cancer on his candidacy. this is going to keep coming back. and ultimately, the obama campaign will get to this question. what kind of an economy do we want to have for america in the next century? an economy that works for mitt romney and his buddies at bain and everybody on wall street? or one that works for the people that lost their jobs, lost their health insurance and some couldn't feed their families? that's a tough thing for romney to explain. >> this election is going to be a referendum on president obama. and what he has done.
it's not going to be about -- >> how many jobs he destroyed is not going to be an issue. >> having this ad out there is helpful for the romney campaign because they can test what the best methods are against it. >> do you think they have? don't attack free enterprise? >> for the republican primary, yes. but mitt romney has a better track record of creating jobs than president obama does. so that's -- >> let me tell you something. my dad didn't tell many jokes, but one of the jokes my dad said was there was a kid hitting himself in the head with a hammer. when asked why, he said, because it feels so good when i stop. here's the pro-romney super pac. he's putting this out today in south carolina and florida attacking gingrich. let's watch. >> newt gingrich's attacks are called foolish, out of bounds,
and disgusting. newt attacks because he has more baggage than the airlines. newt was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. took $1.6 million from freddie mac and co-sponsored a bill with nancy pelosi that would have given $60 million a year to a u.n. program supporting china's brutal one child policy. don't be fooled by newt's desperate attacks. restore our future is responsible for the content of this message. >> they are as nasty as ever, fair enough. but it seems to me what happens in these situations, i call upon your expertise, when you trash each other, somebody else gets the vote. >> that's absolutely right. >> if i were rick santorum, i would say, please, don't do this anymore. can't we have a positive campaign? this is how newt gingrich rose to the top. he attacked the media and attacked the republicans for attacking other republicans and people applauded him. and then they listened to him. >> by the way, newt won't be narnd september, october, november, when -- >> no, but his ads will be. >> romney is going to get through the primary.
he's going to win the primary. he's going to be the guy going against barack obama. and you know what -- >> why do you think -- if that's all true why is newt doing this? if he doesn't have a prayer, why is he doing this? >> i think he's mad at romney and what he did to him in iowa. he has to get over it. it's not going to help him long-term. >> but wait a minute. is there going to come a time, following that anger theory, where romney is going to say i forgive you? if you stop doing this, i'll give you a big cabinet appoint familiarity you want one. >> he's never going to get a cabinet appointment. >> why does he do it then? >> because he's going to run out of money eventually. >> here's "morning joe." jim demint was on there. he warns romney needs to have a good answer. here's the most conservative guy in the senate saying romney is vulnerable in the general election if he doesn't get his act together and explain this thing. here's jim demint going after his need to explain himself. let's watch. >> but this is something that would have been an attack on romney if he was the nominee anyway. he needs to figure out how to
explain to america that these decisions have to be made in business. now that newt and others do not appear to be in the game, to damage a front-runner makes no sense to me. >> there he is. the south carolina guy who wants to win the general. seems to me these republicans -- not you, because you are a straight shooter -- but all these guys are circling the wagon to protect their asset. all these meal tickets. all these guys that want jobs with newt or mitt if he wins saying what a great guy. rush limbaugh never said anything good about mitt romney until last week. all these other guys are doing it. all the magazines. they want their meal tickets. they show up at election night. they want paychecks and consideration. that's why they are being nice to romney. they don't think he's that great. are you one of them? >> i think people who are defending mitt romney now are shocked by the attacks by newt gingrich from the left. >> rush limbaugh is shocked? >> i think they are shocked that -- >> rudy giuliani is shocked? >> not the idea of attacking him. i don't think rush limbaugh
cares about the meal ticket. >> does rudy care? >> they're not going to get appointments. >> that's going to make newt gingrich even angrier and push even harder and say even more outrageous things. msnbc did something recently which might have a big impact. they took their footage from the debate and i presume all the other news shows and said anybody can use it for any news purpose as much or as little as they like. >> why do that? they are giving stuff away? >> we used to not be able to use debate footage owned by nbc. media consultants have all this footage of people like newt making these attacks. it makes it more credible. listen to what newt gingrich said and -- then pretty soon -- you have this argument extending. >> hillary clinton had words against barack obama. joe biden had. it has limited effect. this bain capital thing is something that mitt romney has to figure out. it's a very tough attack. >> let me remind you if you're a candidate. teddy kennedy.
the damage he did to who was my candidate at the time, jimmy carter, was so ferocious. by the time reagan came along it was easy. the damage done in primaries does stick through to the primary. >> but he was the incumbent. that's it different. >> there is a difference. >> let me tell you something. >> thank you. coming up -- a preview of coming attractions. if president obama runs against wall street greed and mitt romney runs against washington, who wins? by the way, they've both got a problem. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] you never know when a moment might turn into something more. and when it does men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use.
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he should send in a check. now in a new issue of "time" magazine, buffett is ready to do just that. pledging 1 for 1 match for all voluntary contributions made by republican members of congress. that's a safe bet. and buffett says he'd up that to a 3 for 1 match for mcconnell himself. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." mitt romney has made himself the likely republican nominee by winning iowa and new hampshire. he's consistently attacked president obama's policies. whool the president has been speaking out about republicans and economic inequality. are those the arguments we're going to hear in the general election. john harwood writes in today's paper in this sour, fearful mood that economic setbacks have produced, american voters loathe both major symbols of the forces squeezing their pocketbooks and life savings. president obama will seek re-election vowing to rein in
one of them -- wall street. mitt romney will focus on the other -- washington. well, wall street versus washington. that's it. john heileman is national affairs editor for "new york magazine" and joe williams covers the white house for politico. john heileman, let me ask you about this different blame game. from the beginning of our country's history, politicians have blamed new york bankers, big east money. almost like apple pie going back to huckleberry finn. this is what we do in american politics. blame the big city, new york and the wealth. will it work this time for president obama running for re-election? >> i don't think president obama is has ever been a comfortable full-throated economic populist. there's no doubt the white house and his re-election team is pushing him more in that direction. we saw the speech he gave in kansas a few weeks back. there's no doubt they are going in that direction. but the president is, as i say, no huey long.
he's never taken up that mantle very comfortably. and he's also someone who continues to receive a lot of money, a lot of support from the financial services industry. he had a chance in doing wall street reform to really crack down on the big banks and didn't do that. i think he's going to walk a line that's more of a soft populism when it comes to policy, but he's certainly going to try to tie mitt romney to the worst excesses of wall street. going to try to paint him in the same way newt gingrich is now as a kind of gordon gekko figure and put him in that box. >> that makes sense. here's president obama laying out his election strategy in his kansas speech last month, which people believe is a smart speech. it's not just that it's soft. it's not maniacal. it's not hateful. but it does particularly target a certain kind of money making, which he knows people don't look up to. people who make money off money rather than making things. fair or not, that seems to be the discourse right now. here he is last month in kansas. >> this isn't about class warfare.
this is about the nation's welfare. it's about making choices that benefit, not just the people who have done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class and those fighting to get into the middle class. a strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules from wall street to main street. >> that's sort of a sunday morning attempt to be a populous. one guy doing it. what do you make of this president who is so successful in american life he hardly has a personal grief with anything about the system? look how well he's done. he doesn't ever make it as an angry guy. now he's offering himself up as the people's tribune, champion, against the successes of wall street. >> it's going to be an easy argument for them to make. one image that comes to mind is
mitt romney with the dollar bills coming out of his suit and talking about how bain capital was a raging success and how they have done so well. >> is that why he won't release his tax returns? he's worth $250 million? >> talk about the politics of wealth envy. any time he does something like that, it would play into his hand. >> you mean, i like to be able to fire people? >> you like to be able to fire people. he has enough money to buy several things that we even only dream about. cars, whatever it might be. he has money at his fingertips. what john is saying is very interesting. president obama has not been a full-throated populist but certainly the opposite is true when compared to mitt romney who definitely has the 99% -- or the 1% on his side. >> boy, is he comfortable defending wealth. here he is during his victory speech on tuesday night taking on president obama in washington. but here he is directing his guns at washington. >> this president puts his faith in government.
we put our faith in the american people. this president is making the federal government bigger. burdensome and bloated. i will make the federal government simpler, smaller, and smarter. he raised the national debt. i will cut, cap and balance the federal budget. this president has enacted job-killing regulations. i will eliminate them. >> here's the numbers. according to the u.s. office of personnel, the federal workforce totaled 4 million in 2009 when obama took office. the number increased to 4.443 million. those are the employee totals. the number dropped in 2010. that's according to the census bureau. john heileman, it's always great rhetoric to say the government is exploding, is ballooning with people. the government is getting bigger and bigger. and it's not. if anything, there's been the reality of the economic reports
to come out every first friday of every month which are government jobs have been de deplete depleted. they are shrinking. everyone that lives in places like scranton knows the pressure. you're always letting people go. how can they keep selling the idea we have this gigantic growth of government when we hear daily reports of lost jobs in government? >> what mitt romney and others who believe that the deficit's growth is a huge problem for the american economy and long-term prosperity, they will focus on the growth of government in the sense of the monetary. the fiscal growth of government. the size of the deficit. the size of debt. that's what he's going to hit on rather than the specific numbers. i think where he also -- >> but that's a result of the aging population and unemployment. it's not because they create new ideas to spend money. it's more people turn 65 every day than the day before. more people are getting sicker and using health care because they've understood what they can get from doctors and hospital care.
more people are unemployed than ever before. that's why unemployment benefits and all kinds of benefits are going up. your thoughts on that. >> the additional one is that government employment has gone down because we don't have the money to pay for it. and a lot of the free market was allowed to do their will. few people would argue against that. it hasn't done the wealth creation they might argue. and the reason why this argument resonates is because of sort of aspirational politics that seems to be on the republican side. >> what would you rather run against, big government or big business? >> it's easy to run against big government because it's something everybody sees. >> it's very obvious. >> what do you think, john? sharper or better tool to blame the government or business? wealthy people? >> i think the overwhelming trend in the public opinion research is there's a more antipathy towards big government. fairly or not. i hate when you introduce facts into the debate here because republicans have been very good at obscuring some of the facts
you pointed to. but that's been a political winner for republicans. ever since reagan beat up on big government and it's been a winner for them in the past. because the deficit and debt numbers are getting bigger it might be well again. >> i have to explain your sarcasm. it is important to get the facts straight. there's less people working for the government than when the president came into the office. >> not to mention the quick fact, the wage has remained flat. it behooves him to pay attention to what happened with elizabeth warren in massachusetts. >> i'm rooting for her. she's going to run a great campaign. we'll see what happens. thank you john heileman and chris williams. up next, jon huntsman's rather pathetic goal for the south carolina primary. he's not aiming too high. that's next in the side show. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ he was a 21st century global nomad ♪
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back to "hardball" for the side show. first is the 2012 candidates swoop into south carolina, what tops their list of priorities before next week's primary? one would think it's beating mitt romney, but jon huntsman has set his sights pretty low. here's his number one goal. >> as we get closer to election day, you are going to say huntsman has to clear a certain hurdle to stay relevant. to stay alive. we're going to have to find after the votes are cast, we actually clear that hurdle. >> you don't have to beat the spread. romney just doesn't have to beat his. a recent ppp poll has host steven colbert beating jon huntsman in south carolina. that's because he's from there. but it was jon stewart that came forward with some hard to swallow advice for huntsman last night. let's watch. >> new hampshire was huntsman's big gamble. he skipped iowa to concentrate all his efforts there. he moved there for a year and
finished a distant third. no confetti for third place. how does a guy spend a year in new hampshire and not connect? >> as they would say in china, mitt -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> oh, that's right. he speaks mandarin. right. i can't believe that's not impressive to a republican primary audience who won't even eat mandarin oranges because they don't want to take away jobs of american fruit. i know this is hard for you, but it's over. it's time to put the confetti into storage. let me put this in terms you can understand. [ speaking foreign language ] >> huntsman may not have connected in new hampshire with the voters, but he didn't do badly with those of us covering
the race. up next, not too many kids can say they've spent a great portion of their youth in the white house. according to michelle obama, her young daughters don't revel in all the attention drawn by their parents. let's hear a few examples from a portion of the first lady's interview that aired on cbs this morning. >> what do you and the president do that embarrass your daughters? >> they don't really want us to come up to school. especially the president. when he comes for parent-teacher conferences, it's a motorcade. the other day malia was like, is dad coming? is he bringing all those cars? really? i think they almost hit my teacher. >> they have to put up with what we've been putting up with. the wish by your kids that you were invisible. and now for tonight's big number. the 2012 presidential election promises to be a divisive one, between the two parties, but get this. in the new hampshire republican primary, some voters did cast a vote for president obama.
the total number, 282 votes. none in new hampshire's ten counties were devoid of at least a few votes for obama. 282 votes for president obama in the new hampshire republican primary. that's tonight's oddly big number. up next, an iranian nuclear scientist is mysteriously assassinated. is there a covert war going on against iran? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
it's likely part of a war against the nuclear program. look what's happened in the past few years. at least five scientists have been targeted in similar attacks. one survived. the others were killed. a number of mysterious explosions have been reported at sites thought to be military complexes. one of the attacks killed a top missile expert. back in 2009, a computer virus infested the country's nuclear facilities causing significant damage and delay. no country has taken responsibility for any of these attacks on the iranian nuclear program, but iran has accused the united states and israel. yesterday, secretary of state hillary clinton forcefully denied american involvement. >> i want to categorically deny any united states involvement in any kind of act of violence inside iran. >> so what's going on here? robert baer is now an intelligence columnist.
his latest book is "the company we keep." thank you, sir. what's going on? generally, what's going on? do these attacks have a pattern? does it have the fingerprints of an israeli industry? >> it has to be the israelis. if it was the iranian opposition, they'd be going after political leaders. you look at the target and you look at the capabilities. it's not american. there is no lethal finding against iran. the israelis, as far as i can see, are trying to provoke the iranians into doing something. >> what would that -- that's always my question. consequences explained and consequences dealt with when they come. what could -- you know, we are vulnerable over there. we have an american over there just condemned to death for espionage. is that one of the assets brutally stated against us that they can execute him? would they go that far as
payback for something like this assuming we had some role in knowing about this? >> they have done a couple things. they have hit the british embassy. overran it. they kidnapped this american ex-fbi agent. they can do a number of things. but what we're seeing is an escalation, chris. it's almost as if the intention is to get the iranians to fire a missile at an oil tanker in the strait of hormuz which would cause a wider war. >> why would that help us? >> it wouldn't help us. it would help them because the israelis would force them into hitting back and that's exactly what they want. >> you think it's israel trying to get us into this. let's go to richard engel. where are we at on this thing? you had a report on the nightly news last night. >> i think you need to understand this in the larger context. last month, the united states passed incredibly harsh
sanctions on iran. the expected outcome of this is that iran feels backed into a corner. iran has responded with bellicose language. and now there's tension in the strait of hormuz. so going back to the last guest who i admire greatly was talking about. if you want to hit iran and you need a context to do that, you need a pretext to do it, the way to do that is by forcing iran into a corner. forcing your adversary to make some sort of aggressive move and then everyone will think you are correct when you respond with force. >> why is it important for israel, if it's israel doing the eventual attack on the iranian nuclear facilities, why would israel -- how would that help israel? the whole world is tough on israel, let's put it that way. would anybody take the edge off their antipathy attacking iran no matter what preceded it?
>> let's say iran goes out and launches an attack on iran. the next day, oil prices go through the roof. $200 a barrel for oil. everyone blames israel. you picked a fight and there were ways around this. if suddenly iran feels strangled, their economy is under collapse, it does something like put sea mines in the strait of hormuz, oil prices go up any way, then an israeli attack happens or a u.s./israeli attack happens or some sort of military action happens against iran, then you look like the savior, not someone who provoked a crisis. >> let me get back to bob. do you believe this is what's going on? if it's speculation, tell me that. do you think a rational observer would say this is moving towards creating a pretext for an eventual attack on the iranian facilities? >> absolutely. this is speculation, of course. i don't know what the israelis are planning. i know the white house doesn't want a war with iran, not before this election, but we see from
all quarters this pressure, this logic of war that is marching forward. and the iranians are looking at a year or two to hit the nuclear facilities. they cannot be seen to initiate this. if you keep assassinating the people, it's a humiliation. you make it a reaction out of them. it will look stupid and the world will say there's nothing else we could have done except hit the israelis. there's a strategy here because these assassinations alone don't stop their nuclear program. they are simply a provocation. >> is that a good analysis from your view, richard? >> i think it probably is. the israelis can't be seen or it's difficult for them to be seen as drawing first blood. killing a 32-year-old scientist who worked in procurement is not going to stop the program. they have so far killed five people, four of them civilians. one of them a general who were
involved in the missile program or the nuclear program directly. it has a psychological impact, but it's not going to slow down or stop the program. so i think you have to look at what is the other objective? is the objective to try and make yourself feel better? is it to try to put the iranians on edge? is it to try to provoke a response from them? or is it a bit of all of that? >> how can the united states not see this as adversarial by israel to try to hook us into a war? if that's the case. if bob baer is right saying this is an attempt to try to get us in by trying to get the iranians mad at us in terms of the reaction they take by these assassinations, if that's seen to manipulate us into a war we don't want to get into, how can we not see that as hostile? >> i'm not sure if it's to draw the u.s. into a war, but it gives israel the ability to do this action unilaterally.
i don't think israel would tell the united states they are going to do it. we would wake up and it's happened. they would need to tell saudi arabia to give them fly-over rights, but i don't think the israelis expect the u.s. to do this for them. >> last thought from you, bob. i thought you were saying -- maybe you were. let's get it clear. you are saying israel is trying to provoke the iranians into attacking us or attacking them? what are they trying provoke here? >> if we are attacked, it gives the israelis and americans, it puts them on the same side with no choice but to hit the iranians. they need our air force to complete the job. they can't do it alone. >> this is something we'll be talking about from now to election day. i've been reading elliott abrams in "the wall street journal." this is of interest to our country, israel, and of course, iran. it's involved in politics. not just the survival of israel. thank you, richard engel and bob
voters, it's increasingly clear he likes order. did you hear it? he can get knocked off stride by spontaneous, unscripted moments and confrontational exchanges. how is this going to affect his candidacy and the game plans of his opponents? ron reagan is here. and dana milbanks, a political columnist for "the washington post." gentlemen, i want you to watch a bit of this stuff. we're talking about in an october debate, not 1,000 years ago, rick perry who at the time was high in the polls unnerved mitt romney on the issue of illegal immigration. listen closely at the end of this when romney calls out for a lifeline. >> mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your home, and you knew about it for a year. and the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you are strong on immigration is on its face, the height of hypocrisy. >> governor romney?
>> rick, i don't think i've ever hired an illegal in my life and so i'm afraid -- i'm looking forward to finding your facts on that because -- >> i'll tell you what the facts are. >> again, rick, i'm speaking. i'm speaking. i'm speaking. >> it's time for you to tell the truth. >> you get 30 seconds. this is the way the rules work. i get 60 seconds and then you get 30 seconds to respond. anderson? >> anderson? anderson? it's like rocky. adrian! what do you make of that? >> isn't that like -- >> i want dana first. >> i've started transcribing the ha, ha, ha. that romney says after he laughs at his own joke. >> what does it mean? >> it means, i am attempting humor now. we've seen this before. it's like the al gore problem that romney gives many outward impressions that he's human. but when you get behind it like something seems a little bit off there and that's the nature of the campaign that obama needs to run against him. it's not so much on policy but unauthentically.
remember gore's wooden problem that became the joke. i think we'll have a similar thing here. >> ron reagan, let me ask you what you do. the lack of spontaneity lack of spontaneity is a problem. remember when the electricity went out and they just stood there? they were like those statues in orlando, they couldn't move. >> it's hard to be spontaneous when you're always be cal cue lighting at the same time. if you really know what you believe, and somebody throws you into a situation you're unfamiliar with or you're a little rock can i, whatever is coming out of your mouth is going to be authentic. if you're always calculating your response, tailoring it to this audience or that, very difficult to be spontaneous, you saw there too. here's a guy who's like every -- the kid everybody hates in the playground in grade school. mr. anderson, ricky, broke the 30 second rule. you know, have you to get him in trouble. contrast that with a moment in
new hampshire where ronald reagan and his campaign is hanging by a thread in 1980, and the moderator is trying to shut off his microphone. he stands up and says, i'm paying for this micro phone, that message is, i'm the biggest guy in the room. if you want the crown, have you to come through me. romney's message seems to be, if you want the crown, check with anderson cooper. >> in all respect, ron. the reason your dad said that, is because of what spencer tracy said exactly in the exact same situation when he was playing a guy named grant matthews, running for the president of the united states against harry truman in a movie called "state of the union." >> it doesn't matter, you still have to deliver the line. >> in this sunday's "meet the press" debate, romney had a dustup with rick santorum. it's a good moment. >> run again? that would be about me. i was trying to help get the state in the best shape as i could. left the world of politics, went
back into business, now i have the opportunity, i believe, to use the experience i have. you have a surprised look on your face. >> are you going to -- >> it's still my time. >> are you going to tell people you're not going to run for re-election if you win? >> it's still my time. >> he called him out, he said you have a surprised look on your face, but he said, it's my time. >> sure, and running again for governor would be about me, but running for president is a gesture of selflessness and altruism. don't you get the sense that he's running through index cards in his head and saying, what do i need to project? >> more showing here, here he is on fox, he got romney completely on off script. he was being challenged on fox. >> do you support the idea of a mandate? do you believe that was the right thing for massachusetts. do you think a mandate, mandating people to buy insurance is the right tool? >> i don't know how many hundred times i've said this too.
this is an unusual interview. all right, let's do it again. >> hey, ron, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. >> yeah, he's a jolly sort of fellow, isn't he? talk about a legitimate question, and did he not think he was going to have to face that sort of question? he seems like the kind of guy who's not used to meeting people on an even playing field. he's used to being the boss and the millionaire, where nobody asks you uncomfortable questions, nobody puts you on the spot because you'll fire them and you'll like it. >> well, there is a difference in a business press and the political press, that's for sure. >> true. it's ha-ha-ha and then ah at the end when he realizes nobody else is laughing. and then he awkwardly moves on. >> what's important to tell us about a voter right now, about this guy? >> it tells us in a he has the al gore problem -- >> romney was in hiding for months, away from the press, he came out because gingrich forced him out.
he's going to go right back behind that. you're going to see fewer interviews, town hall meetings. >> when he has to debate the president, what happens? >> i think obama kicks his behind. he'll get in his face a little bit, and mitt won't be able to handle it. >> the president is going to be prepared to do weird things even, unusual, to catch the guy wrong footed. that's the new british phrase now, wrong footed. anyway, they catch the man wrong footed. you'll learn, look it up, it's there. thank you ron reagan, dana millbank. when we return, let me finish with the attack of mitt romney from behind.
let me finish tonight on this, this attack on mitt romney from behind is the most exciting thing to happen in this election. imagine if democrats started attacking president obama as a kenyan? what if a couple democrats started blasting barack obama for being some socialist from europe trying to bring this country down with the welfare system they have over there. well, imagine if it were a democrat or a couple of them going after their own man for being a disciple of saul linske. you wonder why the protecters of mitt romney are getting out there, raising bloody murder
over newt gingrich and rick perry and what they're saying this is why. they're feeling as scared as a democrat would feel if one of their own were throwing these attacks out at obama. nothing spooks the herd more than when one of their own speaks out and saying what's being done is not the right way at all. the fight between the democrats and republicans, a couple big time republican candidates are saying the lead steer is loco, that what he's done with his life, is not about creating jobs, but precisely what his investors went there to do, make money. not by killing jobs, necessarily. but if killing jobs made the money, oh, that's the name of the game. this is the business we have chosen to use a handy godfather phrase. loop to loop, a presidential campaign where suddenly we see trouble in the home front a couple bulls are raging in the